Bulgaria’s own “Golden Dawn” gathers momentum

16 Dec

From Saturday’s Times: Far Right in Eastern Europe Makes Gains as Syrians Arrive”

“SVILENGRAD, Bulgaria — After spreading turmoil and desperate refugees across the Middle East, Syria’s brutal civil war has now leaked misery into Europe’s eastern fringe — and put a spring in the step of Angel Bozhinov, a nationalist activist in this Bulgarian border town next to Turkey.

“The local leader of Ataka, a pugnacious, far-right party, Mr. Bozhinov lost his seat in the town council at the last municipal elections in 2011 but now sees his fortunes rising thanks to public alarm over an influx of Syrian refugees across the nearby frontier.

“Membership of the local branch of Ataka, he said, had surged in recent weeks as “people come up to me in the street and tell me that our party was right.” Ataka, which means attack, champions “Bulgaria for Bulgarians” and has denounced Syrian refugees as terrorists whom Bulgaria, the European Union’s poorest nation, must expel. An Ataka member of Parliament has reviled them as “terrible, despicable primates.”

The ability of these groups to focus in on the most wretched-of-the-earth group of the moment is astounding.

BULGARIA-articleLargeNikolay Doychinov/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Members of Bulgarian nationalist groups patrolled Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital, last month, an example of “civil patrols” by nationalists in immigrant regions.

And perhaps the article also potentially exaggerates the extent to which the Greek government has cracked down on Golden Dawn:

“The party was more comparable to the neo-fascist Golden Dawn movement in Greece, he said, but conceded, “Ataka’s strategy works.” Yet while Greece’s government has cracked down on Golden Dawn, in Bulgaria, Ataka is in effect a government ally.”

Several Golden Dawn MPs in Greece had their immunity withdrawn due to violent crimes committed, but though not Ataka may be “a government ally” in Bulgaria, Golden Dawn is still a sitting part of Greece’s parliament, the party has certainly been proven to be an ally of the Greek police (even to the extent of sharing training camps with them) and no one has cracked down on that connection or those on the police side involved in it at all.

comment: nikobakos@gmail.com

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